Friday, February 13, 2015

Has Labour's 'Pink Bus' Been Effective in Raising Awareness of Women's Issues?

Labour came under great scrutiny this week when Deputy Leader Harriet Harmen took to the road in a 16 seater bright pink bus to promote their “Woman to Woman” campaign. 

Opposition were keen to point out that this could be seen as a 'patronising' and glaring mistake by Labour, in fact negating their efforts to raise awareness of issues particularly effecting women ahead of the general election.  'Woman to Woman' was set up to target the 9.1 million women who did not vote at the last election and has received national coverage this week as a result of the colour choice.

CEO of The Women's Organisation Maggie O'Carroll said in response:

"While we obviously wouldn't support the premise that pink = woman, what we are delighted  to see is that the controversial bus has been a success in getting all this media attention and that has served to bring gender issues back to the agenda."

According to The Independant - Labour’s first separate “women’s manifesto”, to be launched in April, will promise:
  • 25 hours of free childcare for working parents of three- and four-year-olds (up from the current 15 hours); an additional 50,000 childcare places; guaranteed access to “8am-6pm” schooling through breakfast and after-school clubs to help working parents
  • Support for grandparents who juggle the care of their grandchildren and their working hours
  • Companies with more than 250 workers to publish the “hourly pay gap” between the sexes in their annual report to shame them into ensuring equal pay for women
  • Greater priority to tackling domestic and sexual violence against women, through a commissioner to set minimum standards.

Maggie O'Carroll continued "It has been great to see that issues effecting women have been covered nationally by the media this week as a result of a debate about the colour of the bus.  Yes there are other colours they could have chosen, but we see it as a win in terms of getting attention and raising awareness of the real issues.  What we really want to see discussed are policies around childcare to support women in employment, addressing the gender pay gap, how we get more women in senior positions and representing our country in parliament, looking at a reversal of the austerity measures that have disproportionately impacted upon women and support mechanisms to offer women pathways to entrepreneurship.  We want to see appropriate support given to women entrepreneurs to help them access finance, build robust plans for their business and to develop business growth ambition."

To find out more about how The Women's Organisation directly support women to start and grow their own enterprise visit 

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